Squiz Today / 21 September 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 21 September


“I'll just wait for the tide.”

Said unlucky sailor Tony Higgins after his boat ran aground in Victor Harbour on Saturday. He was one of two men who were reported missing at the start of the month sparking South Oz’s largest ever search effort. Doesn’t bad luck come in threes?


The race for the White House was altered on Friday with news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. It was reported that Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter in the days before her death that “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” But President Donald Trump says he will push ahead with the process before the 3 November election and will nominate a woman this week - a move that's expected to have "profound consequences".

Let’s break it down...

• The US Supreme Court keeps a check on the power of the president and government. Choosing those to serve as its justices falls to the president, and with just 9 life-appointments available, it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often.

• Supreme Court justices say they’re above politics, but research shows there's a correlation between judges’ political affiliations and their voting. Ginsburg was proudly liberal, and her death gives Trump the opportunity to secure a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. That could see a tilt in the balance in favour of the Republicans’ views on issues like abortion, healthcare, and gun reform.

• The rush for President Trump to wrap up Ginsburg’s replacement comes down to a numbers game. His nomination will need to be confirmed by the Senate where his Republican party currently holds a 53-47 majority. Polls say about 7 Republican incumbents are on track to lose their seats at the election, which would change the game regardless of whether Trump secures a second term as president.

She was an icon of the women’s movement as a legal pioneer for gender equality. A gifted student who was unable to get work at the big law firms, she found success working with the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s. Using that platform, she won a series of cases that “strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple.” It was President Bill Clinton who nominated her to become a Supreme Court justice in 1993 where her most notable rulings and dissents maintained her faith with feminist causes. In recent years, a new wave of feminists celebrated her as the ‘Notorious RBG’ - a spin on rapper Biggie Smalls’ nickname (aka The Notorious BIG). She was 87yo and died at her home in Washington DC on Friday of complications from pancreatic cancer.



The largest demonstrations in years were held in Thailand on the weekend. Student-led protests calling for reform to the nation’s monarchy and political system have been going on since July. Yesterday morning, a plaque was laid declaring the country “belongs to the people, and not the king." It’s a big risk to attack Thailand’s monarchy - criticism of the royals is outlawed. Demonstrators have also called for the government headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who seized power via a coup in 2014, be dissolved. King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has recently reconciled with his official extra-marital friend, is not in the country. The government says it will not use violence against protesters. Protests are also ongoing in Belarus with more than 100,000 people marching in the capital Minsk overnight. It’s the sixth consecutive weekend of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko with protesters urging him to quit after a disputed election last month.


What a difference a couple of days make… On Friday, the US Department of Commerce said it would ban people in America from downloading the messaging and video-sharing apps TikTok and WeChat through any app store on any platform. Fast forward to yesterday, and President Trump gave his tick of approval for a deal that will see US company Oracle eventually take a financial stake in TikTok as it manages the data of US users. Mega retailer Walmart is also said to be looking to get in on a deal. Chinese Government approval still needs to be given, and so the ban on TikTok downloads is on hold for a week. WeChat was on track to exit app stores today, but a Californian judge has held that up. China has accused the US of bullying over the moves.


The emissions reduction target of ‘net zero by 2050’ was going to be one of the biggest issues of the year - until the coronavirus crisis came along… But that doesn’t mean it’s gone away. With a bunch of developed nations settling on ‘net zero emissions’ (aka not emitting more carbon than can be offset through projects like planting trees) by 2050, experts say Australia would have to make significant changes to get there. Asked about it yesterday, PM Scott Morrison said he believed Australia could achieve it, but the government won’t make it an explicit target. “I know people get very focused on the politics of these commitments, but what I'm focused on is on the technology that delivers lower emissions, lower costs and more jobs,” he said on ABC TV’s Insiders yesterday. The Business Council, the National Farmers Federation, and Labor have urged Morrison to adopt the target. Morrison will release the long-awaited ‘technology roadmap’ for the energy sector this week.


New cases in Victoria are well and truly coming down with 21 recorded on Saturday and 14 on Sunday - the lowest numbers since June. That’s raised hopes that Premier Daniel Andrews will ease coronavirus restrictions sooner than laid out in the roadmap, so expect a build-up in anticipation towards Sunday, which is the next date in the plan. Andrews says the result is "cause for great optimism and positivity". Not feeling the same is the UK and Europe as a second wave of COVID cases and deaths sets in - right in time for winter. "I don't want to go into a second national lockdown. The only way we can do that is if people follow the guidance," said UK PM Boris Johnson.


You little bewdy… Tasmania’s Richie Porte has finished third in the Tour de France. He’s just the second Aussie to make the podium (Cadel Evans won the thing in 2011) in the race's 117-year history. And it was down to the wire with Porte leaving himself the task of making up a more than 90-second gap in Saturday night's time trial to get amongst the top 3 finishers. Missing the birth of his daughter to compete in the epic 3,200km race, his wife provided him with some pointed motivation. "[She] said to me, 'Go to the Tour, do your thing … [but] if I turn the television on and you're at the back of the peloton, I'll be a little bit p*ssed,'" Porte said yesterday. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar took out the race - at 21yo he’s the youngest victor in more than 100 years.


This morning is the Primetime Emmys - but not as we’ve known it. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will steer the awards with the nominees 'attending' remotely. What could possibly go wrong? Emmy staff will go to each nominee’s home in anticipation of knocking on the door of the winner. The show most fancied - Watchmen. It’s based on a superhero graphic novel tackling racism in America, and it's got 26 nominations. The sentimental favourite is Schitt’s Creek with 15 nominations for its final season. And some of Australia’s biggest stars are up for gongs. The ceremony kicks off at 10.00am AEST.


International Day of Peace

World Alzheimer’s Day

National days for Armenia, Belize and Malta

Birthdays for author Stephen King (1947), actor Bill Murray (1950), Japanese PM Shinzō Abe (1954), former PM Kevin Rudd (1957), actor Billy Porter (1969) and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher (1972)

Anniversary of:
• the passing of a proclamation announcing the formal abolition of the French monarchy during the French Revolution (1792)
• the publication of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit (1937)
• the proclamation of the People's Republic of China by the Chinese Communist Party (1949)
• the publication of a genomic study finding Indigenous Australians are the oldest known civilisation on earth in Nature (2016)

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